Kelvin Gastelum Accepts Shavkat Rakhmonov’s Challenge for Welterweight Battle

Gastelum answers Rakhmonov's challenge.

Shavkat Rahmonov Vs Kelvin
Shavkat Rahmonov Vs Kelvin - Image credit @shavkatrakhmonov94 @kgastelum Instagram

Kelvin Gastelum has responded to the challenge posed by Shavkat Rakhmonov, accepting the invitation to go head-to-head in a welterweight clash. Gastelum, who initially gained fame as the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 17, recently decided to make a long-anticipated return to his original weight class after competing in the middleweight division for seven years. Rakhmonov, an impressive contender with an undefeated record of 17 wins, wasted no time in throwing down the gauntlet to Gastelum on social media.

Kelvin Gastelum Agrees to Fight Shavkat Rakhmonov 

Gastelum’s decision comes on the heels of a triumphant victory over Chris Curtis at UFC 287 in April 2023, where he displayed his vintage skills and emerged victorious via a unanimous decision. Feeling reenergized and back to his prime form, Gastelum believes the time is ripe to make the transition.

“I like the callout. I appreciate the call out,” Gastelum said on his YouTube channel. “I thought it was a little boring. He could have added a little spice to it, but I like the fight. These are the kind of fights that I want in the welterweight division. This puts me right in the mix, swimming with the sharks. It’s either sink or swim. I like this fight. I think he’s ranked No. 5 or No. 6 in the Welterweight division. This puts me up there with some really fun fights, given I win this, which I will…

“It’s been a couple weeks since the tweet,” he continued. “I’ve been on vacation so it’s taken me some time to address it, but now it’s time for me to address it and officially accept the challenge. I accept, Shavkat Rakhmonov, your challenge at 170 pounds, and not only that, I’ll give you a date. Dana [White] was talking about doing a huge Mexican Independence Day event in Las Vegas, which happens to be Sept. 16 on the dot, and me being an outstanding Mexican American, I would gladly represent where my people have come from and where we’re going. Sept. 16 at the T-Mobile Arena, wherever it may be, as your man in Kazakhstan, [Gennady Golovkin] would say, ‘Big drama show.’ Let’s get it on. I accept, Shavkat. I accept your challenge.”

Rakhmonov has proven to be an exceptional force in the MMA world, finishing all 17 of his opponents with a versatile array of skills. With eight knockout wins and nine submissions to his name, “The Nomad” has firmly established himself as a dangerous contender. His most recent triumph occurred in March when he submitted Geoff Neal, positioning himself on the verge of a title contention opportunity

This welterweight clash will mark Gastelum’s first fight below 185 pounds since his bout against Johny Hendricks at UFC 200 in July 2016, where he secured a unanimous decision victory. Following that event, Gastelum went on to compete in 12 middleweight fights, tallying five wins, six losses, and one no contest.

I think stylistically I’m horrible for him,” Gastelum said of Rakhmonov. “He comes forward, he’s very sloppy sometimes, and I’m going to be able to capitalize on that. I’m either going to be able to land these two [raises his fists] or take his ass down and submit him. I don’t know which way I’ll win.

“I’m not going to sit here and lie and say he’s not a difficult opponent, because he is,” he added. “The man can take a beating. But I can’t wait to be the one to actually put the ‘1’ next to his undefeated record. I just think I’m a horrible match up.”

With Gastelum’s acceptance of Rakhmonov’s challenge, fans can anticipate an electrifying showdown in the welterweight division. Both fighters are determined to make a statement, and the forthcoming battle promises to deliver an exhilarating spectacle for all mixed martial arts enthusiasts.

(h/t MMA Fighting)

Published on June 21, 2023 at 10:36 am
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